Former U.S. Sen. George McGovern said he regrets dropping his initial running mate for the 1972 presidential race because the candidate had undergone treatment for a mental illness.
If the situation came up again, “I probably would have gone the other way,” McGovern said Saturday at a forum about mental illness.
McGovern dropped Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri following news reports he had undergone psychiatric treatment, including electroshock therapy, for manic depression. R. Sargent Shriver Jr. replaced Eagleton on the Democratic ticket, but President Nixon easily won re-election.
McGovern, 75, said the public’s misunderstanding about mental illness and the political climate at the time created a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.
“I think today we probably would have gotten different advice,” McGovern said.